The Dissident

12 Women die from feminicide every day in Latin America

The evening focused on women’s rights; four human rights defenders from Latin America were invited to speak out. Shelter City guest Karen talked about her work and values, as well as three other women’s rights defenders: Shirin (Femmes for Freedom), Haydée (Foundation for Justice and a Democratic State of Law) and Neesa (Center for Women’s Rights). Two of them shared their experience with us through Skype, while working in their countries.

These defensoras (This is the term used by Neesa to talk about women’s rights defenders) were inspiring and powerful, explaining how they work to give to women their body and mind integrity back. (‘Defending our body as our fierce territory’, as Karen said). The four of them, and many others, are trying to ‘move our world from the feminist NGOs that [they] work for’.

Karen talked about how patriarchal and militaristic views in Honduras are a big threat to women. These encourage a culture of high tolerance towards violence, and the impunity of feminicides (the murders of women because of their gender). 12 women die from feminicide every day in Latin America. Thus, the defensoras are sometimes simply advocating for the women’s right to live. Neesa insists on the militarization and violence that spread in Latin America since the 2009 coup d’état, and how the main vision is now that ‘peace can only come through weapons’. This is dangerous; firearms are more and more used against women, especially as a threat in households.

But these women are strong and determined to stand up against violence: Haydée talked about the power and strength that the persons she helps give her, it is all about being united.

One of Karen’s goals is that being a human rights defender in Honduras – and anywhere really – stops being a dangerous activity, and it is one of our goals as well. In the meantime, we will keep on welcoming human rights defenders from all around the world, and giving them keys to stay safe despite their threatening work.


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